Ann Brooks’ chocolate sponge cake Recipe

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When we started our hunt for your Mum’s Best Dish, goodtoknow Recipes Editor Holly Arnold just had to include her Nan’s chocolate cake. Despite many years of eating cake, Holly has still yet to find a recipe that can beat this classic chocolate cake. The secret is the buttercream – it’s the perfect smooth filling between the soft sponges, all thanks to a few clever swaps in the traditional recipe. Tried and tested several (hundreds) times over, this chocolate sponge cake will soon become a firm favourite in your house – it certainly is in the Arnold household!


  • 3 large eggs
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 50g butter melted in 2 tablespoons of boiling water
  • Buttercream
  • 80g softened butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • Vanilla essence (to taste)


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Whisk eggs and sugar together until thick and pale in colour. Sieve the flour and the cocoa into the egg and sugar mixture and fold in gently but mixing well. Add the melted butter and water and mix in.

  • Divide between two (greased) sponge tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then remove from tin and put on a rack until cold.

  • Put all the buttercream ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.  Patience is needed for this as it can take some time but keep going and it will eventually all come together, like a double cream consistency.  If you over-whisk and it starts to separate just keep on whisking and it will combine again.

  • Use to sandwich the two cakes together.

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